What happens when attempts to get your housing association to make your building safe are unresolved after years, and engagement with them is torturous – what do you do?
What happens when the helpline promises that someone will ring you back, but no-one ever does?
When you are asked to explain your case in detail every single time you call them, then told there is no record of any previous calls?
When months go by and repairs still haven’t been carried out? Or are carried out, but to such a poor standard that the problem is made worse?
When complaints disappear into the ether with no response, or with such a bland rebuttal you know that your will to fight is being deliberately drained?
Well, for one group of Clarion tenants who have experienced all of the above, only one answer remained – it was time to explore a service charge strike.
A group of SHAC@Clarion members met last week to discuss this tactic, and find out more about the legalities. They also heard from a tenant of another housing association whose residents’ association deployed a rent strike, and successfully won wholesale concessions to their demands without having to go through with it.
Essential Legal Advice
The legal advice was an essential part of allowing tenants and residents to decide for themselves. Attendees heard in detail about the legal risks, and also any mitigating action they could take. This will allow them to decide whether it is right for them, and what steps they need to take to make it successful if they go ahead.
Rent or service charge strikes are not an easy option, but they do seem to be on the rise in Britain, especially by students over recent months. With a growing tide of anger at the imbalance of power between tenants and their housing association landlords, if any SHAC tenants and residents decide to take this step, they can be confident that hundreds of thousands of others will give them wholehearted support.
To understand more about rent and service charge strikes, see our guide here.
30 November 2020